How much can we expect from Rondo?

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How much can we expect from Rondo?

Coming off one of the greatest performances in Celtics playoff history man, it still feels weird to write that, but there's no denying it's true Rajon Rondo remains the key to any and all Green success.

But the question is: How much can you really expect from him tonight at the Garden? Assuming that another 44-point performance isn't in the cards, how much production do the Celtics actually need to avoid an 0-3 death sentence?

The answer is: There is no answer.

With a player like Rondo, you can't say: "He needs to score 40 or 30 or even 20 points for the Celtics to win. You can't say he needs 15 assists, 10 rebounds or that he needs to play every second. That's because despite the gaudy stats he put up on Wednesday, Rondo isn't about numbers. He may become obsessed with them from time to time, but aside from a random showcase like we saw in Game 2 numbers are never a true measure of the effect he has on a game. It's one of the major reasons we've often seen him stumble into triple-doubles over the course of his career. How he can play what sometimes feels like an awful game but end up with a stat line that's beyond reality for three quarters of the guy's in this league. Because he's freak, but also, again, because he's not about numbers.

He's about the feel of the game, the tempo; he's about energy, intensity and intangibles. That's Rondo. And that's who he has to be tonight. If the numbers come, they come. But it will not make or break the Celtics fate. All he has to worry about is pushing the ball, keeping every one involved and taking what the defense gives him. Which will be very familiar.

Listen, the Heat aren't going to do anything different than they did in Game 2. First of all, because there's no way they're counting on Rondo to hit 10 of 12 jump shots andor 10 of 12 foul shots in consecutive games. Second, because despite all of Rondo success, the Heat still won. Why go crazy changing things? You're really going to alter your game plan because a guy who is a notoriously bad jump shooter had one good shooting night? No way. You do that, and you're just opening yourself up to get beat by Kevin Garnett or Paul Pierce, who themselves have a much more explosive and terrifying track record that Rondo does.

In the end, the Heat will leave the door open for Rondo to have another enormous game, but he doesn't need to have one. There's no specific numerical requirement for what they need, except that they need him to be him: Focused. Resilient. Relentless. Rondo.

That will be enough.

And then it's on to Game 4.

Rich can be reached atrlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter athttp:twitter.comrich_levine

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

BOSTON – The trip to the TD Garden is one that Jared Sullinger has made many times but never like this. 

The former Celtic was back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent. 

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“I had a feeling it was going to go that way once they signed big Al (Horford), that they were going to let me go,” Sullinger said prior to Friday’s game.  “We were prepared for it. It is what it is. I’m happy these guys are doing well.”

And he hopes to say the same for himself sometime in the future after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot – the same foot he had season-ending surgery on during the 2014-2015 season with the Celtics. 

There’s no specific timetable as to when he’ll be back on the floor, and Sullinger is cool with that plan. 

“I don’t know. They’re hiding the protocol from me so I won’t rush; we’ll see,” said Sullinger who is still in a walking boot. 

The 6-foot-9 forward played well in the preseason and solidified himself as the team’s starting power forward. 

Now that he’s out with another injury, he’ll have to once again try and prove himself either later this season when he returns, or this summer when he becomes a free agent again.

For now, Sullinger is happy to be back in town, seeing lots of familiar faces, friends and ex-teammates that he says he still keeps in close contact with. 

“Some of these guys I considered like brothers to me,” Sullinger said. “IT (Isaiah Thomas), Jae Crowder to name a few. So I watch from a distance, I support from a distance. They’re playing well.”

In addition to his former teammates, the lines of communication remained open between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well. 

Stevens said the two exchanged text messages right before he had foot surgery, and afterwards. 

“Obviously, everyone here wishes a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back on the court soon,” Stevens said. 

Sullinger has been an effective player during his time in the NBA, with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. 

But this will be the third time in his five NBA seasons that he will miss a significant amount of time on the court due to an injury or recovering from an injury. 

Stevens acknowledged that he feels for Sullinger who once again has to go through rehabilitation in order to get back on the floor.

“I like Jared a lot,” Stevens said. “He’s a heck of a player, he’s a really smart guy. Got a lot of respect for him and it stinks that he’s got to go through that but he’ll come back strong I’m sure.”